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Carter Tristan, Professor


Research & Supervisory Interests

Regionally I have two main research foci: (1) Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern prehistory, spanning the Epi-Palaeolithic to Late Bronze Age, i.e. hunter-gatherer to state-level societies, (2) The British Neolithic.

Materially, my research usually employs stone tool studies as a means of engaging with a range of major disciplinary debates.

Analytically I work in the McMaster Archaeological XRF Lab [MAX Lab] to elementally characterize archaeological and related materials (, with a particular focus on obsidian sourcing studies.

Thematically I work on (a) Neolithisation, (b) the Eurasian dispersal of hominins and early Homo sapiens, (c) Aegean prehistory within its larger Eastern Mediterranean context, (d) mapping ‘communities of practice’ via obsidian sourcing studies, (e) the archaeology of social gathering spaces.

Current projects: (i) I am co-director of the Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project [SNAP] an early prehistoric chert source and later Bronze Age ritual site in the Cyclades (, (ii) I am director of the Freston Archaeological Research Mission [FARM] a large Early Neolithic monument in the East of England,, (iii) I am a long-term publishing member of projects in Crete (Knossos, Malia, Mochlos inter alia), and the Cyclades (Keros), (iv) I am collaborating with various scholars for the sourcing of obsidian assemblages from Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.

I enjoy long-term research collaborations with the Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France.


Dr. Carter might accept graduate students for entry into the program in September 2021, but will be away that academic year on sabbatical so this may not be the best situation for you. In general he is interested in hearing from potential applicants at both the Masters and PhD level.

He has ongoing field projects in Greece (Lower Palaeolithic – Late Bronze Age) and England (Early Neolithic) within which he hopes to create space for graduate research (material culture, thematic, geo-spatial, regional oriented projects).

In general he is interested in supervising projects from Eastern Mediterranean / SW Asian prehistory, lithics, elemental characterization studies, all of which he tends to approach from a social-cultural perspective.

Please get in touch with a basic outline of the type of research you would like to undertake for a thesis project.


PhD Institute of Archaeology (UCL), 1999


Search course offerings in Anthropology


Courses (2022-2023)


  • ANTHROP 2WA3 - World Archaeology
  • ANTHROP 3E03 - Special Topics in Archaeology I



  • ANTHROP 3LA3 - Lithics Analysis
  • ANTHROP 4KK3 - The Archaeology of Neanderthals and Other Early Humans


 Courses (2021-2022)


  • On Research leave



  • On Research Leave




Publications (Recent Selection) 

*** - undergraduate when paper submitted; ** - graduate when paper submitted; * - McMaster alum.

2021 (Carter, T., Mallinson, K., Mastrogiannopoulou, V., Contreras, D.A., Lopez, C., Pareja, M.N., Tsartsidou, G., Diffey, C., and Athanasoulis, D.), ‘A new Minoan-type peak sanctuary on Stelida, Naxos’, Journal of Greek Archaeology 6: 60-99.

2021 (Carter, T., Moir, R., Wong, T., *Campeau, K., Miyake, Y. and Maeda, O.), ‘Hunter-fishergatherer river transportation: Insights from sourcing the obsidian of Hasankeyf Höyük, a PrePottery Neolithic A village on the Upper Tigris (SE Turkey)’, Quaternary International 574: 27-42

2021 Carter, T., Jackson, N.,** Moir, R., Challinor, D. and Diffey, C.), ‘The Freston causewayed enclosure: New research on the Early Neolithic of Eastern England (Suffolk)’, Documenta Praehistorica 48: 118-141.\dp.48.6.

2021 (Carter, T. and Aubert, D.), ‘Of manuring and monuments: New work around the Freston Early Neolithic causewayed enclosure’, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History 45(1): 3-18.

2021 (Carter, T. and Athanasoulis, D.), ‘Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project’, in Burke, B., Athanasoulis, D., Bonias, Z., Burns, B., Carter, T., Charami, A., Gallimore, S., Haagsma, M.J., James, S., Karapanou, S., Nakassis, D., Papadimitriou, A., Perreault, J.Y., and Surtees, L. (2021), ‘Fieldwork of the Canadian Institute in Greece in 2018’, Mouseion: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada 18: 255-284 [264-269].

2021 (Schofield, T., Carter, T., Jackson, N., and **Moir, R.), ‘Integrating geophysical survey and excavation at the Freston Neolithic causewayed enclosure, Suffolk (UK)’, Archaeological Prospection 28: 107-119

2021 (Contreras, D.A., Batist, Z., Zogheib, C. and Carter, T.), ‘Matching pragmatic lithic analysis and proper data architecture: The QuARI R Shiny database interface’, Advances in Archaeological Practice 1-13

2021 (Mercader, J., Akuku, P., Boivin, N., Bugumba, R., Bushozi, P., Camacho, A., Carter, T., Clarke, S., Cueva-Temprana, A., Durkin, P. Favreau, J., Fella, K., Haberle, S., Hubbard, S., Inwood, J., 12 Itambu, M., Koromo, S., Lee, P., Mohammed, A., Mwambwiga, A., Olesilau, L., Patalano, R., Roberts, P., Rule, S., Saladie, P., Siljedal, G., Soto, M., Umbsaar, J., and Petraglia, M.), ‘Earliest Olduvai hominins exploited unstable environments ~ 2 million years ago’, Nature Communications 12:3

2020 (Carter, T., *Campeau, K., and Streit, K.), ‘Transregional perspectives: characterizing obsidian consumption at Early Chalcolithic Ein el-Jarba (N. Israel)’, Journal of Field Archaeology

2020 (Carter, T., ***Moir, R., ***Wong, T., *Campeau, K., Miyake, Y. and Maeda, O.), ‘Hunter-fisher-gatherer river transportation: Insights from sourcing the obsidian of Hasankeyf Höyük, a Pre-Pottery Neolithic A village on the Upper Tigris (SE Turkey)’, Quaternary International

2020 (Carter, T., *Campeau, K., and Streit, K.), ‘Transregional perspectives:  characterizing obsidian consumption at Early Chalcolithic Ein el-Jarba (N. Israel)’, Journal of Field Archaeology 45(4): 249-269.

2019 (Carter, T., Contreras, D.A., Holcomb, J., Mihailović, D.D., Karkanas, P., Guérin, G., Taffin, N. Athanasoulis, D., and Lahaye, C.) ‘Earliest occupation of the Central Aegean (Naxos), Greece: Implications for hominin and Homo sapiens’ behaviour and dispersals’, Science Advances eaax0097

2019 ‘The significance of an Aegean insular Mesolithic to processes of Neolithisation’, in B. Horejs and M. Brami (eds.), The Central/Western Anatolian Farming Frontier. OREA Series 12, Vienna: 85-101.

2018 (Carter, T., Strasser, T., Panagopoulou, E., *Campeau, K. and Mihailović, D.D.), ‘Obsidian circulation in the Early Holocene Aegean: A Case Study from Mesolithic Damnoni (SW Crete)’, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 17: 173-183.

2017 ‘Nothing to see here! The challenges of public archaeology at Palaeolithic Stélida, Naxos’, Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 5(3-4): 311-333.

2017 (Carter, T., *Batist, Z, *Campeau, K., Garfinkel, Y., and Streit, K.), ‘Investigating Pottery Neolithic socio-economic “regression” in the Southern Levant: Characterizing obsidian consumption at Sha‘ar Hagolan (N. Israel)’, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 15: 305-317.

2016 Obsidian consumption in the Late Pleistocene - Early Holocene Aegean: Contextualising new data from Mesolithic Crete’, Annual of the British School at Athens 111: 1-22.

2016 (Carter, T., Contreras, D., *Campeau, K., and *Freund, K.), ‘Spherulites and aspiring elites: The identification, distribution, and consumption of Giali obsidian (Dodecanese, Greece)’, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 29.1: 3-36.

2016 (Carter, T., Mihailović, D.D., Papadatos, Y., and Sofianou, C.), ‘The Cretan Mesolithic in context: New data from Livari Skiadi (SE Crete)’, Documenta Praehistorica XLIII: 87-101.\dp.43.3

2015 (Carter, T., Haddow, S., Russell, N., Bogaard, A., and Tsoraki, C.), ‘Laying the foundations: Creating households at Neolithic Çatalhöyük’, in I. Hodder and A. Marciniak (eds.), Assembling Çatalhöyük. EAA Monograph Series - Themes in Contemporary Archaeology I: 97-110.

2014 ‘The contribution of obsidian characterization studies to early prehistoric archaeology’, in M. Yamada and A. Ono (eds.), Lithic Raw Material Exploitation and Circulation in Prehistory: A Comparative Perspective in Diverse Palaeoenvironemnts. ÉRAUL 138, Liège: 23-33.

2013 (Carter, T. ***Grant, S., Kartal, M., Coşkun, A. and Ozkaya , V.), ‘Networks and Neolithisation: Sourcing obsidian from Körtik Tepe (SE Anatolia)’, Journal of Archaeological Science 40(1); 556-569.